Jamie Bissonnette Wins Food & Wine's People's Best New Chef Award, Coppa to Take Reservations

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Perfect timing: Jamie Bissonnette's Coppa just started taking reservations yesterday, and it's a good thing as we have a feeling the place will be more packed than usual on the heels of his Food & Wine People's Best New Chef award. We caught up with him on an airplane to discuss the win. More ahead.

"I'm surprised," Bissonnette told Grub Street. "I'm blown away to be nominated for New England, and it's a real honor to win and to win the whole thing for the whole United States. I'm honored to have my name in the same breath as some of these other chefs."

The offal-experimentalist acknowledges that Boston's a little "uptight" but says things have turned around in the past 10 years. "I realized that people do want to try offal, and if I made it approachable, more people might try it," he says. "People might not eat a $25 plate of pigs' tails, but for $9 I'll make it accessible financially and make sure it tastes delicious."

According to F, he's amazing because "he's not afraid to challenge diners' palates with the daring nose-to-tail cooking (including calf's-brain ravioli and blood-sausage pepperoni on pizza) at his intimate enoteca."

He says he's still trying to "fine-tune" that enoteca, and to that end he's decided to open up the place to reservations so even more diners can enjoy his envelope-pushing food. "A lot of people would tell me they didn't come because they drove by on a Tuesday and there was a line out the door. But we weren't that busy. We just had that stigma." (Note: Every time we've been there, the place has been packed.)

"Now," he says, "all those people who have never been in will come in. It might change the way the restaurant works. It might change the whole energy. But I'd rather cook for fewer people and have more variety come in. I want people who don't live in the city to take the risk."

Better book now! In the meantime, Bissonnette's off on a North Carolina vacation. We think the guy deserves it.

The People's Best New Chef [F]